Standard & Poor's

Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC (S&P) is a U.S. financial services company. It is a division of S&P Global that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks, bonds, and commodities. S&P is known for its stock market indices such as the U.S.-based S&P 500, the Canadian S&P/TSX, and the Australian S&P/ASX 200. S&P is considered one of the Big Three credit-rating agencies, which also include Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings.[2] Its head office is located on 55 Water Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.[3]

Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC
Subsidiary of S&P Global, limited liability company
IndustryFinancial services
  • Poor's Publishing
  • Standard Statistics
1941 (present corporation status)
FounderHenry Varnum Poor
Key people
John Berisford
RevenueIncreaseUS$2.61 billion (2009)[1]
Number of employees
ParentS&P Global


Poor's Directory of Railroad Officials 1893 (Frontispiece)
"Poor's Directory of Railroad Officials", 1893 (frontispiece)

The company traces its history back to 1860, with the publication by Henry Varnum Poor of History of Railroads and Canals in the United States. This book compiled comprehensive information about the financial and operational state of U.S. railroad companies. In 1868, Henry Varnum Poor established H.V. and H.W. Poor Co. with his son, Henry William Poor, and published two annually updated hardback guidebooks, Poor's Manual of the Railroads of the United States and Poor's Directory of Railway Officials.[4][5]

In 1906, Luther Lee Blake founded the Standard Statistics Bureau, with the view to providing financial information on non-railroad companies. Instead of an annually published book, Standard Statistics would use 5-by-7-inch cards, allowing for more frequent updates.[4]

In 1941, Paul Talbot Babson purchased Poor's Publishing and merged it with Standard Statistics to become Standard & Poor's Corp. In 1966, the company was acquired by The McGraw-Hill Companies, extending McGraw-Hill into the field of financial information services.[4]

Credit ratings

As a credit-rating agency (CRA), the company issues credit ratings for the debt of public and private companies, and other public borrowers such as governments and governmental entities. It is one of several CRAs that have been designated a nationally recognized statistical rating organization by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

S&P issues both short-term and long-term credit ratings. Below is a partial list; see S&P's website for more information.

Long-term credit ratings

Countries by Standard & Poor's Foreign Rating
Countries by Standard & Poor's Foreign Rating (March 2019)

The company rates borrowers on a scale from AAA to D. Intermediate ratings are offered at each level between AA and CCC (e.g., BBB+, BBB and BBB−). For some borrowers, the company may also offer guidance (termed a "credit watch") as to whether it is likely to be upgraded (positive), downgraded (negative) or uncertain (neutral).

Investment Grade

  • AAA: An obligor rated 'AAA' has extremely strong capacity to meet its financial commitments. 'AAA' is the highest issuer credit rating assigned by Standard & Poor's.
  • AA: An obligor rated 'AA' has very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments. It differs from the highest-rated obligors only to a small degree. Includes:
    • AA+: equivalent to Moody's Aa1 (high quality, with very low credit risk, but susceptibility to long-term risks appears somewhat greater)
    • AA: equivalent to Aa2
    • AA−: equivalent to Aa3
  • A: An obligor rated 'A' has strong capacity to meet its financial commitments but is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligors in higher-rated categories.
    • A+: equivalent to A1
    • A: equivalent to A2
  • BBB: An obligor rated 'BBB' has adequate capacity to meet its financial commitments. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitments.

Non-Investment Grade (also known as speculative-grade)

  • BB: An obligor rated 'BB' is less vulnerable in the near term than other lower-rated obligors. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties and exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, which could lead to the obligor's inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments.
  • B: An obligor rated 'B' is more vulnerable than the obligors rated 'BB', but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor's capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitments.
  • CCC: An obligor rated 'CCC' is currently vulnerable, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial commitments.
  • CC: An obligor rated 'CC' is currently highly vulnerable.
  • C: highly vulnerable, perhaps in bankruptcy or in arrears but still continuing to pay out on obligations
  • R: An obligor rated 'R' is under regulatory supervision owing to its financial condition. During the pendency of the regulatory supervision, the regulators may have the power to favor one class of obligations over others or pay some obligations and not others.
  • SD: has selectively defaulted on some obligations
  • D: has defaulted on obligations and S&P believes that it will generally default on most or all obligations
  • NR: not rated

Short-term issue credit ratings

The company rates specific issues on a scale from A-1 to D. Within the A-1 category it can be designated with a plus sign (+). This indicates that the issuer's commitment to meet its obligation is very strong. Country risk and currency of repayment of the obligor to meet the issue obligation are factored into the credit analysis and reflected in the issue rating.

  • A-1: obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is strong
  • A-2: is susceptible to adverse economic conditions however the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is satisfactory
  • A-3: adverse economic conditions are likely to weaken the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation
  • B: has significant speculative characteristics. The obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial obligation but faces major ongoing uncertainties that could impact its financial commitment on the obligation
  • C: currently vulnerable to nonpayment and is dependent upon favorable business, financial and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation
  • D: is in payment default. Obligation not made on due date and grace period may not have expired. The rating is also used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition.

Stock market indices

It publishes a large number of stock market indices, covering every region of the world, market capitalization level and type of investment (e.g., indices for REITs and preferred stocks)

These indices include:

Governance scores

S&P has had a variety of approaches to reflecting its opinion of the relative strength of a company's corporate governance practices. Corporate governance serves as an investor protection against potential governance-related losses of value, or failure to create value.

CGS scores

S&P developed criteria and methodology for assessing corporate governance. It started issuing Corporate Governance Scores (CGS) in 2000. CGS assessed companies' corporate governance practices. They were assigned at the request of the company being assessed, were non-public (although companies were free to disclose them to and sometimes did) and were limited to public U.S. corporations. In 2005, S&P stopped issuing CGS.[7]

GAMMA scores

S&P's Governance, Accountability, Management Metrics and Analysis (GAMMA) scores were designed for equity investors in emerging markets and focused on non-financial-risk assessment, and in particular, assessment of corporate-governance risk. S&P discontinued providing stand-alone governance scores in 2011, "while continuing to incorporate governance analysis in global and local scale credit ratings".[8]

Management and Governance criteria

In November 2012, S&P published its criteria for evaluating insurers and non-financial enterprises' management and governance credit factors.[9] These scores are not standalone, but rather, a component used by S&P in assessing an enterprises’ overall creditworthiness. S&P updated its management and governance scoring methodology as part of a larger effort to include enterprise risk management analysis in its rating of debt issued by non-financial companies. "Scoring of management and governance is made on a scale of weak, fair, satisfactory or strong, depending on the mix of positive and negative management scores and the existence and severity of governance deficiencies."[10]

Downgrade of U.S. long-term credit rating

On August 5, 2011, following enactment of the Budget Control Act of 2011, S&P lowered the US's sovereign long-term credit rating from AAA to AA+.[11] The press release sent with the decision said, in part:

  • " The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics.
  • " More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of US policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.
  • " Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics any time soon."[11]

The United States Department of the Treasury, which had first called S&P's attention to its $2 trillion error in calculating the ten-year deficit reduction under the Budget Control Act, commented, "The magnitude of this mistake – and the haste with which S&P changed its principal rationale for action when presented with this error – raise fundamental questions about the credibility and integrity of S&P’s ratings action."[12] The following day, S&P acknowledged in writing the US$2 trillion error in its calculations, saying the error "had no impact on the rating decision" and adding:[13]

In taking a longer term horizon of 10 years, the U.S. net general government debt level with the current assumptions would be $20.1 trillion (85% of 2021 GDP). With the original assumptions, the debt level was projected to be $22.1 trillion (93% of 2021 GDP).[13]

In 2013 the Justice Department charged Standard & Poor's with fraud in a $5 billion lawsuit: U.S. v. McGraw-Hill Cos et al., U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 13-00779. Since it did not charge Fitch and Moody's and because the Department did not give access to evidence, there has been speculation whether the lawsuit may have been in retaliation to S&P's decision to downgrade. On April 15, 2013, the Department of Justice was ordered to grant S&P access to evidence.[14]

Downgrade of France's long-term credit rating

On November 11, 2011 S&P erroneously announced the cut of France's triple-A rating (AAA). French leaders said that the error was inexcusable and called for even more regulation of private credit rating agencies (CRA's).[15][16][17][18] On January 13, 2012 S&P truly cut France's AAA rating, lowering it to AA+. This was the first time since 1975 that Europe's second-biggest economy, France, had been downgraded to AA+. The same day S&P downgraded the rating of eight other European countries: Austria, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Malta, Slovenia, Slovakia and Cyprus.[19]

Downgrade of Brazil's sovereign debt rating

On March 11, 2014 S&P downgraded the long-term sovereign debt rating of Latin America's largest economy, Brazil, by one notch to BBB−, the agency's lowest investment-grade rating, from BBB. The agency added that Brazil's fiscal credibility was "systematically weakened" by reductions in the government's budget target, while loans issued by state-controlled banks to stimulate spending and increase growth "undermined policy credibility and transparency" instead. This came as a blow to President Dilma Rousseff, whose efforts to stir the economy from a years-long slump have eroded the country's finances. "The downgrade reflects the combination of fiscal slippage, the prospect that fiscal execution will remain weak amid subdued growth in the coming years, a constrained ability to adjust policy ahead of the October presidential elections, and some weakening in Brazil's external accounts," S&P said.[20][21]

On September 9, 2015, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating on the Federative Republic of Brazil to 'BB+' from 'BBB−', and the long-term local currency sovereign credit rating to 'BBB−' from 'BBB+'. "The outlook is negative. We also lowered the short-term foreign currency rating to 'B' from 'A-3' and the short-term local currency rating to 'A-3' from 'A-2'. We also lowered the transfer and convertibility assessment to 'BBB' from 'BBB+'. We affirmed the 'brAAA' national-scale rating and revised the outlook on this rating to negative", S&P said.[22]


The company publishes The Outlook, a weekly investment advisory newsletter for individuals and professional investors, published continuously since 1922.[23] Credit Week is produced by Standard & Poor's Credit Market Services Group. It offers a comprehensive view of the global credit markets, providing credit rating news and analysis. Standard & Poor's offers numerous other editorials, investment commentaries and news updates for financial markets, companies, industries, stocks, bonds, funds, economic outlook and investor education. All publications are available to subscribers.[24]

S&P Dow Jones Indices publishes several blogs that do not require a subscription to access. These include Indexology, VIX Views and Housing Views.[25]

Criticism and scandal

Role in the 2007-08 financial crisis

Credit rating agencies such as S&P have been cited for contributing to the financial crisis of 2007–08.[26] Credit ratings of AAA (the highest rating available) were given to large portions of even the riskiest pools of loans in the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) market. When the real estate bubble burst in 2007, many loans went bad due to falling housing prices and the inability of bad creditors to refinance. Investors who had trusted the AAA rating to mean that CDO were low-risk had purchased large amounts that later experienced staggering drops in value or could not be sold at any price. For example, institutional investors lost $125 million on $340.7 million worth of CDOs issued by Credit Suisse Group, despite being rated AAA by S&P.[27][26]

Companies pay S&P, Moody's and Fitch to rate their debt issues. As a result, some critics have contended that the credit ratings agencies are beholden to these issuers and that their ratings are not as objective as they ought to be, due to this "pay to play" model.[28]

In 2015, Standard and Poor's paid $1.5 billion to the U.S. Justice Department, various state governments, and the California Public Employees' Retirement System to settle lawsuits asserting its inaccurate ratings defrauded investors.[29]

Criticism of sovereign debt ratings

In April 2009, the company called for "new faces" in the Irish government, which was seen as interfering in the democratic process. In a subsequent statement they said they were "misunderstood".[30]

S&P acknowledged making a US$2 trillion error in its justification for downgrading the credit rating of the United States in 2011,[31] but stated that it "had no impact on the rating decision".[32] Jonathan Portes, director of NIESR, Britain's longest established independent economic research institute, has observed that "S&P's record . . . is remarkable. The agency downgraded Japan's credit rating in 2002, since when it has had the lowest long-term interest rates in recorded economic history."[33] Paul Krugman wrote, "it’s hard to think of anyone less qualified to pass judgment on America than the rating agencies," and, "S&P’s demands suggest that it’s talking nonsense about the US fiscal situation".[34]

The SEC is investigating whether the intent to downgrade the U.S. was leaked prior to the public announcement, since the stock market fell sharply for no apparent reason a day earlier, fed by rumors of an impending downgrade.

In late 2013, S&P downgraded France's credit rating. Paul Krugman commented that the decision was based on politics, rather than sound financial analysis.[35]

Australian Federal Court decision

In November 2012, Jagot J of the Federal Court of Australia found that: "A reasonably competent ratings agency could not have rated the Rembrandt 2006-3 CPDO AAA in these circumstances"; and "S&P’s rating of AAA of the Rembrandt 2006-2 and 2006-3 CPDO notes was misleading and deceptive and involved the publication of information or statements false in material particulars and otherwise involved negligent misrepresentations to the class of potential investors in Australia, which included LGFS and the councils, because by the AAA rating there was conveyed a representation that in S&P’s opinion the capacity of the notes to meet all financial obligations was “extremely strong” and a representation that S&P had reached this opinion based on reasonable grounds and as the result of an exercise of reasonable care when neither was true and S&P also knew not to be true at the time made." In conclusion, Jagot found S&P to be jointly liable along with ABN Amro and LGFS.[36]

Antitrust review

In November 2009, ten months after launching an investigation, the European Commission (EC) formally charged S&P with abusing its position as the sole provider of international securities identification codes for United States of America securities by requiring European financial firms and data vendors to pay licensing fees for their use. "This behavior amounts to unfair pricing," the EC said in its statement of objections which lays the groundwork for an adverse finding against S&P. "The (numbers) are indispensable for a number of operations that financial institutions carry out – for instance, reporting to authorities or clearing and settlement – and cannot be substituted.”[37]

S&P has run the CUSIP Service Bureau, the only International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) issuer in the US, on behalf of the American Bankers Association. In its formal statement of objections, the EC alleged "that S&P is abusing this monopoly position by enforcing the payment of licence fees for the use of US ISINs by (a) banks and other financial services providers in the EEA and (b) information service providers in the EEA." It claims that comparable agencies elsewhere in the world either do not charge fees at all, or do so on the basis of distribution cost, rather than usage.[38]

See also


  1. ^ "S&P | About S&P | Americas - Key Statistics". Standard & Poor's. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  2. ^ Blumenthal, Richard (May 5, 2009). "Three Credit Rating Agencies Hold Too Much of the Power". Juneau Empire - Alaska's Capital City Online Newspaper. Archived from the original on November 1, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Corporate 55 Water Street New York New York". Standard & Poor's. July 3, 2013. Archived from the original on June 28, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "A History of Standard & Poor's". Archived from the original on February 15, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  5. ^ "Corporations: Standard & Unpoor". Time magazine. October 13, 1961. Archived from the original on December 20, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  6. ^ "S&P SmallCap 600 –Overview". Standard and Poors. Archived from the original on July 22, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  7. ^ Taub, Stephen (September 9, 2005). "S&P Stops Issuing Governance Scores". CFO. Archived from the original on August 27, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  8. ^ "S&P affirms and withdraws Banco Santander (Brasil) GAMMA score". Reuters. September 1, 2011. Archived from the original on April 28, 2018. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  9. ^ "S&P report on criteria for management and governance scores". Reuters. November 13, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Berkenblit, Howard E.; Trumble, Paul D. (January 2, 2013). "Standard & Poor's brings "enhanced transparency" to management and governance credit factors methodology". Sullivan & Worcester LLP. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Swann, Nikola G; et al. (August 5, 2011). "United States of America Long-Term Rating Lowered To 'AA+' Due To Political Risks, Rising Debt Burden; Outlook Negative" (Press release). McGraw-Hill Companies: Standard & Poor's. Archived from the original on August 9, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  12. ^ Bellows, John (August 6, 2011). "Just the Facts: S&P's $2 Trillion Mistake". United States Department of the Treasury. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  13. ^ a b "Standard & Poor's Clarifies Assumption Used on Discretionary Spending Growth" (Press release). McGraw-Hill Companies: Standard & Poor's. August 6, 2011. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  14. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (April 15, 2014). "S&P fails to split up $5 billion U.S. fraud lawsuit". WSJ. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  15. ^ Horobin, William (November 11, 2011). "France Slams S&P for Downgrade Gaffe". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on January 4, 2017.
  16. ^ S&P downgrades France by ‘mistake’ | euronews, economy. Retrieved on 2013-12-23.
  17. ^ Nazareth, Rita (November 10, 2011). "U.S. Stocks Advance as S&P Says It Did Not Downgrade France". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  18. ^ Dilorenzo, Sarah (November 14, 2011). "France frets about prized AAA debt rating". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on November 15, 2011.
  19. ^ Gauthier-Villars, David; Forelle, Charles (January 14, 2012). "Europe Hit by Downgrades". The Wall Street Journal. p. A1.
  20. ^ S&P cuts Brazil credit rating in blow to Rousseff Archived October 16, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, accessed 2014-03-31.
  21. ^ Standard and Poor’s Downgrades Brazil’s Credit Rating To BBB-; What Will This Mean For The Country? Archived March 24, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, accessed 2018-03-24.
  22. ^ "S&P Lifts Outlook on Vale S.A. (VALE) to Stable; Ratings Affirmed". Archived from the original on February 19, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  23. ^ "Standard & Poor's Premium Publications". Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  24. ^ "Standard & Poor's Editorial Features". Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  25. ^ "Thought Leadership - Overview - S&P Dow Jones Indices". Archived from the original on May 27, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  26. ^ a b Klein, Joe (August 6, 2011). "Standard & Poor's Downgrades Itself". Time. Archived from the original on September 18, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  27. ^ Tomlinson, Richard; Evans, David (May 31, 2007). "CDO Boom Masks Huge Subprime Losses, Abetted by S&P, Moody's Fitch". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  28. ^ Efing, Matthias; Hau, Harald (June 18, 2013). "Corrupted credit ratings: Standard & Poor's lawsuit and the evidence". Archived from the original on July 3, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  29. ^ Viswanatha, Aruna. "S&P reaches $1.5 billion deal with U.S., states over crisis-era..." Archived from the original on April 17, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  30. ^ GAA Video: (April 1, 2009). "Cowen Attacks Call for 'New Faces' in Cabinet". Irish Independent. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  31. ^ Paletta, Damian (August 5, 2011). "U.S. Debt Rating in Limbo as Treasury Finds Math Mistake by S&P in Downgrade Warning". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  32. ^ Goldfarb, Zachary A. (August 5, 2011). "S&P Downgrades U.S. Credit Rating for First Time". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  33. ^ Jonathan Portes (August 24, 2011). "The coalition's confidence trick". New Statesmen. Archived from the original on January 31, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
  34. ^ Paul Krugman (August 5, 2011). "S&P and the USA". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  35. ^ Krugman, Paul (November 11, 2013). "The Plot Against France". The New York Times. New York. Archived from the original on November 16, 2006. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  36. ^ Bathurst Regional Council v Local Government Financial Services Pty Ltd (No 5) [2012] FCA 1200 (5 November 2012), Federal Court (Australia).
  37. ^ Securities Technology Monitor, ed. (2009). "EC Charges S&P With Monopoly Abuse". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011.
  38. ^ Finextra, ed. (2009). "European Commission Accuses S&P of Monopoly Abuse over Isin Fees". Archived from the original on March 12, 2011.

External links


ASCII ( (listen) ASS-kee), abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding standard for electronic communication. ASCII codes represent text in computers, telecommunications equipment, and other devices. Most modern character-encoding schemes are based on ASCII, although they support many additional characters.

ASCII is the traditional name for the encoding system; the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) prefers the updated name US-ASCII, which clarifies that this system was developed in the US and based on the typographical symbols predominantly in use there.ASCII is one of the IEEE milestones.

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ] (listen); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP). He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.

Hitler was born in Austria—then part of Austria-Hungary—and was raised near Linz. He moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his service in the German Army in World War I. In 1919, he joined the German Workers' Party (DAP), the precursor of the NSDAP, and was appointed leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted to seize power in a failed coup in Munich and was imprisoned. In jail, he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, anti-semitism and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. He frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as part of a Jewish conspiracy.

By July 1932 the Nazi Party was the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, but did not have a majority, and no party was able to form a majority parliamentary coalition in support of a candidate for chancellor. Former chancellor Franz von Papen and other conservative leaders persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933. Shortly after, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into Nazi Germany, a one-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism. Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain and France. His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the abrogation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, and the annexation of territories inhabited by millions of ethnic Germans, which gave him significant popular support.

Hitler sought Lebensraum ("living space") for the German people in Eastern Europe, and his aggressive foreign policy is considered the primary cause of World War II in Europe. He directed large-scale rearmament and, on 1 September 1939, invaded Poland, resulting in Britain and France declaring war on Germany. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941, German forces and the European Axis powers occupied most of Europe and North Africa. In December 1941, shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, Hitler declared war on the United States, bringing it directly into the conflict. Failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the United States into the war forced Germany onto the defensive and it suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, he married his longtime lover Eva Braun. Less than two days later, on 30 April 1945, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Soviet Red Army; their corpses were burned.

Under Hitler's leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims who he and his followers deemed Untermenschen (subhumans) or socially undesirable. Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 28.7 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European theatre. The number of civilians killed during World War II was unprecedented in warfare, and the casualties constitute the deadliest conflict in history.


Arabic (Arabic: العَرَبِيَّة‎ al-ʻarabiyyah [al.ʕa.ra.ˈbij.ja] (listen), or عَرَبِيّ‎ ʻarabī [ˈʕa.ra.biː] (listen) or [ʕa.ra.ˈbij]) is usually classified as a Central Semitic language, and linguists widely agree that the language first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE. It is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term initially used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, and in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, which is derived from Classical Arabic.

As the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is widely taught in schools and universities, and is used to varying degrees in workplaces, government, and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic (fuṣḥā), which is the official language of 26 states, and the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic largely follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, and uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, and has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties. Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era, especially in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, which is construed as a multitude of dialects of this language. These dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are usually acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children. The relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars (or today's French, Czech or German) in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed.

During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy. As a result, many European languages have also borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence, mainly in vocabulary, is seen in European languages, mainly Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, and Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to agriculture and related activities. The Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have also acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish.

Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history. Some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Turkish, Spanish, Urdu, Kashmiri, Kurdish, Bosnian, Kazakh, Bengali, Hindi, Malay, Maldivian, Indonesian, Pashto, Punjabi, Tagalog, Assamese, Sindhi, Oriya, and Hausa, and some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, and contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.

Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, and Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by perhaps as many as 422 million speakers (native and non-native) in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, which is an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography.


C is the third letter in the English alphabet and a letter of the alphabets of many other writing systems which inherited it from the Latin alphabet. It is also the third letter of the ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is named cee (pronounced ) in English.

Central Time Zone

The North American Central Time Zone (CT) is a time zone in parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America, some Caribbean Islands, and part of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Central Standard Time (CST) is six hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). During summer most of the zone uses daylight saving time (DST), and changes to Central Daylight Time (CDT) which is five hours behind UTC.

Eastern Time Zone

The Eastern Time Zone (ET) is a time zone encompassing part or all of 22 states in the eastern part of the contiguous United States, parts of eastern Canada, the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, Panama in Central America, and the Caribbean Islands, along with certain countries and parts of countries in South America. Places that use Eastern Standard Time (EST) when observing standard time (autumn/winter) are 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC−05:00).

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), when observing daylight saving time (spring/summer), is 4 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC−04:00).

In the northern parts of the time zone, on the second Sunday in March, at 2:00 a.m. EST, clocks are advanced to 3:00 a.m. EDT leaving a one-hour "gap". On the first Sunday in November, at 2:00 a.m. EDT, clocks are moved back to 1:00 a.m. EST, thus "duplicating" one hour. Southern parts of the zone (Panama and the Caribbean) do not observe daylight saving time.

German language

German (Deutsch [dɔʏtʃ] (listen)) is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

One of the major languages of the world, German is the first language of almost 100 million people worldwide and the most widely spoken native language in the European Union. Together with French, German is the second most commonly spoken foreign language in the EU after English, making it the second biggest language in the EU in terms of overall speakers. German is also the second most widely taught foreign language in the EU after English at primary school level (but third after English and French at lower secondary level), the fourth most widely taught non-English language in the US (after Spanish, French and American Sign Language), and the second most commonly used scientific language as well as the third most widely used language on websites after English and Russian. The German-speaking countries are ranked fifth in terms of annual publication of new books, with one tenth of all books (including e-books) in the world being published in the German language. In the United Kingdom, German and French are the most-sought after foreign languages for businesses (with 49% and 50% of businesses identifying these two languages as the most useful, respectively).German is an inflected language with four cases for nouns, pronouns and adjectives (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative), three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter), two numbers (singular, plural), and strong and weak verbs. German derives the majority of its vocabulary from the ancient Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. A portion of German words are derived from Latin and Greek, and fewer are borrowed from French and Modern English. With slightly different standardized variants (German, Austrian and Swiss Standard German), German is a pluricentric language. It is also notable for its broad spectrum of dialects, with many unique varieties existing in Europe and also other parts of the world. Due to the limited intelligibility between certain varieties and Standard German, as well as the lack of an undisputed, scientific difference between a "dialect" and a "language", some German varieties or dialect groups (e.g. Low German or Plautdietsch) are alternatively referred to as "languages" or "dialects".


Hindi (Devanagari: हिन्दी, IAST: Hindī), or Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: मानक हिन्दी, IAST: Mānak Hindī) is a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, is one of the official languages of India, along with the English language. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the Republic of India. However, it is not the national language of India because no language was given such a status in the Indian constitution.Hindi is the lingua franca of the Hindi belt, and to a lesser extent other parts of India (usually in a simplified or pidginized variety such as Bazaar Hindustani or Haflong Hindi). Outside India, several other languages are recognized officially as "Hindi" but do not refer to the Standard Hindi language described here and instead descend from other dialects of Hindustani, such as Awadhi and Bhojpuri. Such languages include Fiji Hindi, which is official in Fiji, and Caribbean Hindustani, which is a recognized language in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname. Apart from specialized vocabulary, spoken Hindi is mutually intelligible with standard Urdu, another recognized register of Hindustani.

As a linguistic variety, Hindi is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English. Alongside Urdu as Hindustani, it is the third most-spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and English.

ISO 8601

ISO 8601 Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times is an international standard covering the exchange of date- and time-related data. It was issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was first published in 1988. The purpose of this standard is to provide an unambiguous and well-defined method of representing dates and times, so as to avoid misinterpretation of numeric representations of dates and times, particularly when data are transferred between countries with different conventions for writing numeric dates and times.

In general, ISO 8601 applies to representations and formats of dates in the Gregorian (and potentially proleptic Gregorian) calendar, of times based on the 24-hour timekeeping system (with optional UTC offset), of time intervals, and combinations thereof. The standard does not assign any specific meaning to elements of the date/time to be represented; the meaning will depend on the context of its use. In addition, dates and times to be represented cannot include words with no specified numerical meaning in the standard (e.g., names of years in the Chinese calendar) or that do not use characters (e.g., images, sounds).In representations for interchange, dates and times are arranged so the largest temporal term (the year) is placed to the left and each successively smaller term is placed to the right of the previous term. Representations must be written in a combination of Arabic numerals and certain characters (such as "-", ":", "T", "W", and "Z") that are given specific meanings within the standard; the implication is that some commonplace ways of writing parts of dates, such as "January" or "Thursday", are not allowed in interchange representations.

Indian Standard Time

Indian Standard Time (IST) is the time observed throughout India, with a time offset of UTC+05:30. India does not observe daylight saving time (DST) or other seasonal adjustments. In military and aviation time IST is designated E* ("Echo-Star").Indian Standard Time is calculated on the basis of 82.5' E longitude, in Mirzapur (Amravati Chauraha), Uttar Pradesh, which is nearly on the corresponding longitude reference line.

International Organization for Standardization

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.

Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and works in 164 countries.It was one of the first organizations granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

International Standard Book Number

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is ten digits long if assigned before 2007, and thirteen digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007. The method of assigning an ISBN is nation-specific and varies between countries, often depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country.

The initial ISBN identification format was devised in 1967, based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) created in 1966. The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108 (the 9-digit SBN code can be converted to a 10-digit ISBN by prefixing it with a zero digit "0").

Privately published books sometimes appear without an ISBN. The International ISBN Agency sometimes assigns such books ISBNs on its own initiative.Another identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines and newspapers. The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) covers musical scores.

International Standard Serial Number

[[File:Issn-barcode-explained.png|thumb|Example of an ISSN encoded in an EAN-13 barcode, with explanation.

[[File:ISSN with addon EAN13.svg|thumb|ISSN expanded with sequence variant 0 to a GTIN-13 and encoded in an EAN-13 barcode with an EAN-2 add-on designating issue number 13]]

An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit serial number used to uniquely identify a serial publication, such as a magazine. The ISSN is especially helpful in distinguishing between serials with the same title. ISSN are used in ordering, cataloging, interlibrary loans, and other practices in connection with serial literature.The ISSN system was first drafted as an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) international standard in 1971 and published as ISO 3297 in 1975. ISO subcommittee TC 46/SC 9 is responsible for maintaining the standard.

When a serial with the same content is published in more than one media type, a different ISSN is assigned to each media type. For example, many serials are published both in print and electronic media. The ISSN system refers to these types as print ISSN (p-ISSN) and electronic ISSN (e-ISSN), respectively. Conversely, as defined in ISO 3297:2007, every serial in the ISSN system is also assigned a linking ISSN (ISSN-L), typically the same as the ISSN assigned to the serial in its first published medium, which links together all ISSNs assigned to the serial in every medium.

Normal distribution

In probability theory, the normal (or Gaussian or Gauss or Laplace–Gauss) distribution is a very common continuous probability distribution. Normal distributions are important in statistics and are often used in the natural and social sciences to represent real-valued random variables whose distributions are not known. A random variable with a Gaussian distribution is said to be normally distributed and is called a normal deviate.

The normal distribution is useful because of the central limit theorem. In its most general form, under some conditions (which include finite variance), it states that averages of samples of observations of random variables independently drawn from independent distributions converge in distribution to the normal, that is, they become normally distributed when the number of observations is sufficiently large. Physical quantities that are expected to be the sum of many independent processes (such as measurement errors) often have distributions that are nearly normal. Moreover, many results and methods (such as propagation of uncertainty and least squares parameter fitting) can be derived analytically in explicit form when the relevant variables are normally distributed.

The normal distribution is sometimes informally called the bell curve. However, many other distributions are bell-shaped (such as the Cauchy, Student's t-, and logistic distributions).

The probability density of the normal distribution is


Pacific Time Zone

The Pacific Time Zone (PT) is a time zone encompassing parts of western Canada, the western United States, and western Mexico. Places in this zone observe standard time by subtracting eight hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC−08:00). During daylight saving time, a time offset of UTC−07:00 is used.

In the United States and Canada, this time zone is generically called the "Pacific Time Zone". Specifically, time in this zone is referred to as "Pacific Standard Time" (PST) when standard time is being observed (early November to mid-March), and "Pacific Daylight Time" (PDT) when daylight saving time (mid-March to early November) is being observed. In Mexico, the corresponding time zone is known as the Zona Noroeste (Northwest Zone) and observes the same daylight saving schedule as the U.S. and Canada. The largest city in the Pacific Time Zone is Los Angeles; the city’s metropolitan area is the largest in this time zone.

The zone is two hours ahead of the Hawaii–Aleutian Time Zone, one hour ahead of the Alaska Time Zone, one hour behind the Mountain Time Zone, two hours behind the Central Time Zone, three hours behind the Eastern Time Zone, and four hours behind the Atlantic Time Zone.

Standard Chinese

Standard Chinese, also known as Modern Standard Mandarin, Standard Mandarin, Modern Standard Mandarin Chinese (MSMC), or simply Mandarin, is a standard variety of Chinese that is the sole official language of China, a national language of Taiwan and one of the four official languages of Singapore. Its pronunciation is based on the Beijing dialect, its vocabulary on the Mandarin dialects, and its grammar is based on written vernacular Chinese.

Like other varieties of Chinese, Standard Chinese is a tonal language with topic-prominent organization and subject–verb–object word order. It has more initial consonants but fewer vowels, final consonants and tones than southern varieties. Standard Chinese is an analytic language, though with many compound words.

There are two standardised forms of the language, namely Putonghua in Mainland China and Guoyu in Taiwan. Aside from a number of differences in pronunciation and vocabulary, Putonghua is written using simplified Chinese characters (plus Hanyu Pinyin romanization for teaching), and Guoyu is written using traditional Chinese characters (plus Zhuyin for teaching). Many characters are identical between the two systems.

Standard deviation

In statistics, the standard deviation (SD, also represented by the lower case Greek letter sigma σ or the Latin letter s) is a measure that is used to quantify the amount of variation or dispersion of a set of data values. A low standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be close to the mean (also called the expected value) of the set, while a high standard deviation indicates that the data points are spread out over a wider range of values.

The standard deviation of a random variable, statistical population, data set, or probability distribution is the square root of its variance. It is algebraically simpler, though in practice less robust, than the average absolute deviation.

A useful property of the standard deviation is that, unlike the variance, it is expressed in the same units as the data.

In addition to expressing the variability of a population, the standard deviation is commonly used to measure confidence in statistical conclusions. For example, the margin of error in polling data is determined by calculating the expected standard deviation in the results if the same poll were to be conducted multiple times. This derivation of a standard deviation is often called the "standard error" of the estimate or "standard error of the mean" when referring to a mean. It is computed as the standard deviation of all the means that would be computed from that population if an infinite number of samples were drawn and a mean for each sample were computed.

It is very important to note that the standard deviation of a population and the standard error of a statistic derived from that population (such as the mean) are quite different but related (related by the inverse of the square root of the number of observations). The reported margin of error of a poll is computed from the standard error of the mean (or alternatively from the product of the standard deviation of the population and the inverse of the square root of the sample size, which is the same thing) and is typically about twice the standard deviation—the half-width of a 95 percent confidence interval.

In science, many researchers report the standard deviation of experimental data, and only effects that fall much farther than two standard deviations away from what would have been expected are considered statistically significant—normal random error or variation in the measurements is in this way distinguished from likely genuine effects or associations. The standard deviation is also important in finance, where the standard deviation on the rate of return on an investment is a measure of the volatility of the investment.

When only a sample of data from a population is available, the term standard deviation of the sample or sample standard deviation can refer to either the above-mentioned quantity as applied to those data or to a modified quantity that is an unbiased estimate of the population standard deviation (the standard deviation of the entire population).

Time zone

A time zone is a region of the globe that observes a uniform standard time for legal, commercial, and social purposes. Time zones tend to follow the boundaries of countries and their subdivisions because it is convenient for areas in close commercial or other communication to keep the same time.

Most of the time zones on land are offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) by a whole number of hours (UTC−12:00 to UTC+14:00), but a few zones are offset by 30 or 45 minutes (e.g. Newfoundland Standard Time is UTC−03:30, Nepal Standard Time is UTC+05:45, and Indian Standard Time is UTC+05:30).

Some higher latitude and temperate zone countries use daylight saving time for part of the year, typically by adjusting local clock time by an hour. Many land time zones are skewed toward the west of the corresponding nautical time zones. This also creates a permanent daylight saving time effect.


Urdu (; Urdu: اُردُو‎ ALA-LC: Urdū [ˈʊrduː] (listen)) (also known as Lashkari, locally written لشکری)—or, more precisely, Modern Standard Urdu—is a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. It is the official national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. In India, it is one of the 22 official languages recognized in the Constitution of India, having official status in the six states of Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as well as the national capital territory of Delhi. It is a registered regional language of Nepal.Apart from specialized vocabulary, spoken Urdu is mutually intelligible with standard Hindi, another recognized register of Hindustani. The Urdu variant of Hindustani received recognition and patronage under British rule when the British replaced the local official languages with English and Hindustani written in Nastaʿlīq script, as the official language in North and Northwestern India. Religious, social, and political factors pushed for a distinction between Urdu and Hindi in India, leading to the Hindi–Urdu controversy.According to Nationalencyklopedin's 2010 estimates, Urdu is the 21st most spoken first language in the world, with approximately 66 million speakers. According to Ethnologue's 2017 estimates, Urdu, along with standard Hindi and the languages of the Hindi belt (as Hindustani), is the 3rd most spoken language in the world, with approximately 329.1 million native speakers, and 697.4 million total speakers.

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